Friday, December 28, 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi is a knitter!!!

Something I read in the newspaper this morning at our stay in Tainan: Aung San Suu Kyi's hand knitted sweater fetched high bid at auction. It makes me so happy to hear one of my most admired person is a knitter!!! Same story can be found here

Friday, December 14, 2012

where are the angels

please take care of the little ones and 
ease the pain of their mommies' and daddies' broken hearts...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Non-Curling Stockinette Stitches

Sometimes when I make designs, there are certain elements that I know will be a problem for other knitters even if it doesn't bother me at all.  One example is garter stitches border before plain stockinette stitches. Garter stitches border has been my favorite go to border because of its simplicity and that it wouldn't change shape and measurement like ribbing borders. However, one thing with this combo is the tendency garter border has with folding over. It never bothers me personally because blocking always does the magic.  However, there are yarns that aren't so great at keeping blocked shape for a long time. Also it is a problem for some knitters. 

Once again, I was using the garter border for a current project.  All of sudden an idea came to me of using knit through back loop for few rows as transition to lessen the folding over of border.

So I did a swatch yesterday, and it worked! I was so thrilled. I knitted 6 rows of garter border, then 3 rows of ktbl before the plain stockinette stitches. The tighter and slightly stiffer rows of ktbl kept the border from folding over.

Swatch Before Blocking

I was so excited that I decided to try to find a way of doing non-rolling stockinette stitches border.  In the past I'd read about and tried the twining method (using 2 yarns to alternate stitches.) Maybe I didn't do it quite right, but that didn't work too successfully for me.

I played around with ktbl for the whole afternoon yesterday. That didn't work. Then I tried slip stitches to be picked up later with the yarn float.  That seemed to be pointing towards the right direction more. So I played around a little more to find an easier way of doing it. Finally, after a whole afternoon had gone by, I was able to find a way of doing stockinette stitches that doesn't curl up.

It's very simple. I'll explain it super briefly as if working in round.
Basically it's repeat 2 rounds. On the first round, alternate  k 1 stitch with k 1 stitch below. On the following row, alternate the same 2 stitches in switched order of k 1 stitch below and k 1 stitch,
k 1 stitch below is simply k into the stitch below the one on left needle, then drop the stitch on left needle.  And on the WS it's p 1 stitch below.

This did add a little bulk to the section.
Coupla problems arose with this method: 1. the gauge became looser than normal stockinette stitches, and 2.  it had the same folding over problem as in garter border and 3 rows of ktbl didn't seem to work quite as effectively as with garter border.

To solve the problems, I switched to smaller needles after CO, and changed it back to larger needles when beginning regular St st. And instead of simple rows of ktbl, I did ktbl instead of k on the last row of the border section and alternate that with k 1 st below. And on the following row I did ktbl on the same previously ktbl stitches, and k the other stitches before I began the plain St st knitting. These solution seemed to work.

I felt like I had a productive Sunday afternoon.

Before Blocking
After Blocking

This is how I made my swatch:

(Note: k 1 below = knit into the stitch below the one on Left Needle, then drop the stitch on Left Needle.
p 1 below = purl into the stitch below the one on Left Needle, then drop the stitch on Left Needle.)

CO multiple of 2 sts with intended needles
switch to needles 2 size smaller, and begin with a WS row, p 1 row.
Row 1 (RS): *k1, k1 below, repeat from * to end.
Row 2 (WS): *p1, p1 below, rep from * to end.  (if work in round, then *k1 below, k1, rep from * to end.)
repeat last 2 rows 2 more times.
Repeat row 1 once.
Next row (WS): *p1tbl, p1 below, rep from * to end. (if work in round, *k1 below, k1tbl, rep from * to end.)
Next row (RS):  swtich to larger needle *k1, k1tbl, rep from * to end.

Begin Stockinette Stitches for desired number of rows by
k on RS rows and p on WS rows, end with a WS row.

Next row (RS): *k1, k1tbl, rep from * to end.
Next row (WS): switch to smaller needles, *p1tbl, p1 below, rep from * to end. (if work in round, *k1 below, k1tbl, rep from * to end.)
Row 1 (RS): *k1, k1 below, repeat from * to end.
Row 2 (WS): *p1, p1 below, rep from * to end.  (if work in round, then *k1 below, k1, rep from * to end.)
Rep last 2 rows 2  more times.

I charted out the instruction:  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Quick Mittens and Sweaters

It has been stormy, but all in liquid form, pouring rain.
This weekend, I ended up making some quick, instant gratifications. I made my very first batch of sugar cookies. First time making icing. The decoration turned out kinda funny looking, but unlike funny looking knitting, these are still edible and quite yummy.

Yes, I was trying to make the mitten look like my First Snow Mittens, but the design ended up looking more like bird poops than snow.  I'll just have to eat away the evidence of poor decorating skill.

So I made some mittens, socks, and sweaters.  All in one day! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Zephyr Cove - home

I finished the Zephyr Cove Shawl in one week's time.

I cast on immediately after the pattern release, because Zephyr Cove is where I live. Zephyr Cove beach is 3 minutes drive away.

I moved around so much first 30 years of my life that living in this area for 10 years is the most stability I ever had. Until Tahoe, I'd always been a city girl. I had to learn to love living in the woods, and now I cannot imagine living without the trees around me. This place means so much to me.

Elann Baby Cashmere in Parchment was used for the main color, then I added in Crystal Place Mini Mochi in Autumn Rainbow from my stash for the stripes. I was planning on continued the entire contrast color section with Mini Mochi, but I decided against that. I ended up using matching color in Elann Baby Silk, again from stash, for a more unified effect.

I love the shawl. It did come out very long. I probably should've used smaller needles. I didn't bother with checking gauge. I'm fine with wearing it as a scarf wrapping around my neck twice. It's very cozy that way.

It felt soothing knitting the endless garter stitches, and that was a complete surprise to me. I always had strong dislike of garter stitches, until now.

Paul and I went to the beach at Zephyr Cove for some photos. He is getting slightly better at being patient with taking photos.

This morning I actually cast on for a second one. As I was knitting, it became obvious why I was making the second Zephyr Cove, I desperately needed something that feels "home," something that anchors me. I'm in no state of mind to do any designing. I just wanted to relax into a pattern that I'm not responsible for. I just wanted to continue something familiar. Zephyr Cove is it.

After receiving some bad news last week, my mind is rather chaotic and at loss. I always snickered at the mention of knitting being comforting or any of that warm and fuzzy talk. Finally, I know what it means to find that repetitive stitches comforting, and much needed.

How I wish I can just curl up and stay home and not dealing with any responsibilities or anyone. Home is good, home is where I find shelter.  Home means so much to me right now.

The non-complicated stitches of this shawl, the easy way of adding color, and the fact that it's called Zephyr Cove, and that it's from the collection named "Home is Where The Heart Is" really cannot be more right for me now. I'm very thankful for this pattern for comforting me with its easy yet beautiful design, and giving me a way to make it into something personal when I don't have the energy of being creative on my own.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Whatever ... Hello Winter

After much frustration writing a pattern for top-down raglan style Midsomer Sunshine, it finally dawned on me that I should write the pattern knitting bottom up instead.  I don't know why it took me months to come to that realization.

Making Midsomer Sunshine was very easy, but writing a multi-sized pattern for top-down raglan style that involved continuously adding new cables of different charts was the most challeging pattern I'd ever attempted.  It was challenging that cable sequence required a lot of instructions for each size individually.  With the current trend of patterns needed to be explained in more details and things needed to be spelled out more specifically, it was something beyond what I could handle.  I did write one that I knew as much as the instruction was clear to me, it was probably not so to at least half of knitters out there. I put that pattern aside, too scared to even have it test knitted.

One day while knitting, I had this brilliant idea of re-knit the sweater from bottom up and write a pattern.  I dug through my stash and got the Quince & Co Lark in color Bird's Egg and started knitting.  I had 2 balls in my stash, after finding the yarn being good for the design and for the color, I ordered 7 more.  The gauge came up just slightly smaller than the original version, so I miscalculated the yardage.  After I finished all the yarn I still needed more. BUT, Qince & Co was out of stock with that color when I tried to re-order.  Fortunately, I convinced a Raveler to destash her 4 skeins to me.  I finished the sweater with 10 skeins of yarn.

I honestly really love this sweater.  I was so comfortable wearing it and walking around the woods and meadow behind our house for photo shoots.  It was no small task to convince Paul to help with photo shoots. The sweater turned out to be exactly the type of thing I love wearing, almost as much as how I love knitting it.  I made it in the style of a short jacket.

Lark was also exactly what I wanted in yarn for this sweater.  I found myself having more and more hesitation lately using very soft merino for sweaters unless it was for a lace or fingering weight sweater that meant to be drapey. For most sweater I prefer it to be slightly more woolly and slightly stiffer than soft merino, especially if it has lots of cables.  Lark was a perfect choice.  While soft enough, it gave great stitch definition which kept the structure of the jacket style, at the same time it was not scratchy at all against skin.

I just sent the patterns out to test knitters. I'm hoping to publish it around early February, almost exactly one year since I knitted Midsomer Sunshine.

I'm calling the pattern Hello Winter because... I don't have a good story for it, truthfully. I finished the sweater just few days after first snow here, but it's now fall weather again. Leaves that turned kinda dull two weeks ago as if we weren't going to have a nice fall, are now in bright yellow again. Next week, the temperature is supposed to be higher, not quite back to summer, but not really moving towards winter either....  If the sweater is really more reflective the season changing this year, it probably should be called "whatever."  Obviously that may not be the best name for a pattern.  By the time the pattern is ready for publishing, it should be solidly winter. I think.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


I finished a shawl.  It's called Carson. It's a design by Romi, and it was the first time I'd knitted her design. The designer named it Carson because of Carson Valley. And that's where I work, so I knew I had to cast on immediately.

Halfway through the knitting, I got sidetracked. OK, I confess, doing garter stitches is probably my least favorite knitting.  2/3 of the shawl was garter stitches.  Purely my own problem.

Eventually I got back to the project because it was a really lovely design. Also, the next pattern about to come out of the pre-purchased collection is called Zephyr Cove - where I live. Judging from the preview picture, it's all garter stitches.  Oh my, that will be a real test to my patience.

Main color yarn was Quince & Co. Finch, color chantrelle. The yellow yarn for contrast color was dyed with flowers of Rabbit Rubberbrush, something that grew in abundance in the high desert of Carson Valley and in the meadows of Tahoe Basin.

Rabbit Rubberbrush passed its prime.

It came out to be a beautiful shawl and I l like the rather low contrast, harmonious color combination.

I think the high desert of this area is deeply ingrained in me.  I know so many people, my family especially, wonder why I stay in this area, namely Nevada, after living in major metropolitan like Taipei, San Francisco, New York, Washington DC all my life.  Well, I love the mountains, and I love the high desert.  I love the fact that during my commute I started out with being in the tree area and as I descended into the valley, it stretched out in its expansive beauty in front of my eyes.  I first came here for snowboarding, but I stayed for the mountain and for the high desert.

view of Carson City from my work place

Friday, October 26, 2012

Shopping At SOAR Marketplace

So I didn't really have the budget to take classes at SOAR, but I was able to allow myself a little shopping at the marketplace yesterday.  It was my very first time to go to any knitting/fiber event.

Paul and I drove around the lake to Tahoe City.  I was amazed that I could talk him into a shopping trip.  It helped that we just had our first snow this week and the scenery was beautiful.

I spent more money than I should, but I was able to get some fiber I'd never worked with.  Now I'm a bit intimidated by some of the fiber I bought.

I got some camel/silk from A Verb For Keeping Warm.  I so love their colors and I'd never worked with camel.  I also got some Pygora/Merino from Rainbow Farms.  Until yesterday, I'd never even heard of Pygora goats before.  I couldn't resist some Merino/Silk from Opulent fibers, and a hank of merino/tencel yarn from Sincere Sheep because I love the colors.

The highlight was meeting Mr. Ashford..  I felt like such a fan-girl.  I never do that kind of stuff as I'm not into the whole celebrity thing, but it was Mr. Ashford!  I was totally smittened by how nice he was.  He invited me to sit down and spin on the Traditional a bit.  He even got Paul to sit a spin a little, something I could never do.  It was really cute that he asked Paul what to do if he encounters a bear when he found out Paul is a forest ranger.  Elisabeth was also nice to show me the knitter's loom, which I'd love to get one one day.

I had such a good time petting all different fibers.  But it sure was dangerous to go to a marketplace like that and I wanted everything in front of me.  Good thing I had enough self control to only spend the cash I brought and not use credit card.  I must say I was also impressed with Paul's patience.  Going shopping with him was usually the most torturous thing for both him and I, but he actually had not too bad of time seeing things.  He enjoyed meeting with Mr. Ashford as well as loving the display colors of A Verb For Keeping Warm.

I almost forgot to mention I wore my "Autum that Cannot Make Up Her Mind" and I got quite a few complements. I know, I was such an exhibitionist, but I couldn't help it.

Monday, October 1, 2012

My New Pattern & A Pattern Recommendation

Deep gratitude to all the wonderful testers, Bee-Lena, mabuli, stardiver, FemaleDragon, Dragebarn, knitgrl, and chirimoya on Ravelry for their help. All the testing was actually finished quite a while back, but I was too lazy to edit everything and retake some photos, so it just sat there until I saw Chris, aka Doodle sent me a notice of her new pattern yesterday and it reminded me I should get my acts together.

This morning I took a few photos of how it looks wearing it before I set to publish the pattern. I'm such a procrastinator.

The Ripples pattern is now available through Ravelry.


Make sure you check out Doodle's new Contour wristwarmers.  It's also hot off the press. She published it yesterday. I highly recommend it for the coming cooler season. It was such a fun knit. A picture below my test knit. I'm planning on making more of these.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Autumn That Cannot Make Up Her Mind

It is really warm around here, in the high 70's and we're 2 days away from October. Last week there was a hint of Autumn, and everyone felt it. Then the next day it was back to Indian summer again. The Autumn doesn't seem to be able to make up her mind.

I could hardly make up my mind either with this gradient yarn I'd dyed and spun. At first, I thought I'd just make it a large cowl with a light color yarn from stash and see how it goes. I found Quince & Co.'s Chickadee in color petal that was exactly what I had in mind. Aimlessly I began to knit.  I found a motif in one of my all time favorite knitting book - The Complete Book of Traditional Scandinavian Knitting.

Then the cowl got taller, and I started seeing it as part of a sweater.  As luck would have it, I knitted the cowl exactly the same size as a sweater for me, hmmm... unconscious coincedence??

I thought, "How about making it into the lower part of a pullover and I can just knit the yoke and sleeves in solid color?"

You know those kids that like to daydream in class when teachers just drone on and on.  Well, I was that kid.  Daydreaming was my specialty.  Even a teacher once commented it, and definitely not as complement.  So my mind started to wander as I knitted and stared at the motif.  A week into the knitting, I decided I wanted an all-over motif pullover. But with only 305 yards of sports/DK weight, there was no way I could do it.  Not even a shrug.

No matter, I figured if I could dye up the first 4 oz of fiber, I could dye up more to match.  Well, match they weren't. The second 4 oz of Corriedale came out too saturated and darker.  No big deal.  I went on and spun that plus the third 4 oz that was shades of burgundy to brown-burgundy for the yoke section. To spin for sleeves, I splited the fiber into halves length-wise and spun each half separately for each sleeve. Same as the original fiber, I spun it longdraw and n-ply.  The third 4 oz was spun without splitting, but alas it came out much thicker.  Oh well, that seemed to be the story of this sweater, nothing goes according to the non-plan.

While spinning the newly dyed fiber, I placed an order for more Chickadee for the sweater.

After knitting the lower body with original yarn and finished the sleeves, I realized I wanted a cardigan, not a pullover. Now the most predictable thing with this sweater was things would keep on changing. I joined the sleeves with the beginning of round placed at the center of front.

I proceeded to make raglan shaping for the yoke/sleeves. While knitting, the idea of curved lower front edges came to me. That and a plain color stand up collar, in Chickadee and perhaps with texture.

When I first started the knitting I began with garter borders at the bottom, which wasn't gonna work with the curved edge. So I put a life line through the first row and cut the bottom edge. It all went without incident.

The steeking was fun. Because I didn't have extra stitches for steeking, I had to make sure I was sewing straight and cutting straight. For the curve corner, I used a big plate to trace out the bottom edge, and then edited it to get  more open curves. The disappearing marker sure came in handy.

Deciding between garter border, seed stitch border, and I-Cord edging, I went with I-Cord for a sleeker look. Initially I did 3 stitches I-cord, but realized it was not good proportion to the cardigan after 10 inches of it. So I ripped back redid it with 5 stitches I-Cord. Much better.

On the morning that I was to do the collar, I woke up with the idea of adding a simple pattern with the 30 yards leftover yarn instead of plain color.  Flipping through my knitting books, I settled on the Woven Polka Dot from A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. It was the first time I ever used this stitch and I loved it, both knitting the stitch and how it looked with rest of the sweater.

I bought 4 toggle buttons that were to be used for the closure, thinking for sure that was what I wanted for the front closure.

With the I-Cord edging and the collars in place, I blocked the sweater and laid it dry by the window.  Because it had been so warm and sunny, it only took a day to dry. I tried on the sweater and realized the toggles would make it look too "craftsy," yikes. On the other hand, a zipper would finish it with a cleaner look, not to mention more wearable for me. Off to the the fabric store I went, but of course they didn't have the right zipper. They never do. The only fabric store in town is more a quilting shop. I ended up driving over the hill back to Joann's for the 16" zipper. This time I bought 3 different kind just in case the first one wasn't gonna work.  Ha, I finally learned how to deal with my constant changing mind.

Not too skillful at sewing, I took my time to think about how to attach it neatly and prepared myself to be patient. First I pinned the zippers to the right places, and fidgeted around a few times after trying on. Before sewing I used the disappearing marker to randomly mark the back of zipper and on corresponding side on the wrong side of sweater next to it. This truly ensure I was sewing zipper at the right spot since the two fronts needed to match up with the motifs.  I handsewn the zipper with Chicadee yarn. It came out better than I expected.

With all the twist and turns on the making of this sweater, one thing I do know for sure is I really, really like it. It's probably a bit too colorful for my regular wardrobe, but I can deal with that. Now I just have to wait 'till Autumn gets here to really wear it.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Firefighting In Action

There is a forest fire very close to our house.  Helicopters have been flying over our house non-stop for nearly 2 hours now (sometimes directly over the house,) scooping water from the lake.  I believe there are at least 4 of them flying, perhaps more. It looks like it's probably less than 2 miles away from our house, judging from the report of local paper I read. It is probably very close if not on my jogging route that I was just on this morning.

Good thing the firefighters/forest service seem to be on top of it.  After the big fire few years ago that burned down hundred of homes here in Tahoe, we're all very jittery when we see fire. Of course, I always see cigarette butts on the trails behind our house...

Here are some shots I took from my balcony.  Hoping there will be no evacuation notice.

The TV news is also reporting a bigger fire down in the Carson valley....

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Contours Wristwarmers

First time I volunteered to test knit something.  It was not out of virtuous motive, I was totally lusting after the pattern when I first saw it.

Chris, aka Doodle on Ravelry made these beautiful Wristwarmers few weeks ago, and I really wanted a pair for myself.  After drooling over it for a while, last week I began post stalking her on Ravelry to see if she'd need testers. Sure enough, she posted the casting call this week for Contour Wristwarmers. I jumped on the chance even though I'd never test knitted before, and never wanted to until now. She was very sweet to let me do it.

I always knew when I make them it's going to be darker red to brighten up the wintry days. Initially I had Elann Baby Cashmere in mind, but decided to go with The Plucky Knitters Primo instead, glad I did.  The color is really gorgeous to show off the beautiful cables.

I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed knitting these and how clearly written the pattern was. I felt like a useless tester for not seeing any problem with the pattern. The cables were so addictive that I stayed up late at night to knit them.

Now I want more pairs of different colors to go with different clothes!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thinking Of Waves - Pattern

The pattern of Thinking of Waves is up and alive!

Many thanks to the wonderful testers on Ravelry - KnitterlyGoodness, BusyMind, fiveb, ThePandorica, Wupperstricker, and thestitchinwench for their generous help with testing.

I made 2 more shawls from the same pattern to double and triple check my stitch counts before sending the pattern out to the testers. I just never got around to post them. So here they are.

With the 2 shawls, colors were added to various sections.  The shawl was knitted in sections using short-rows, so it's easy to change colors.  The above shawl used Naturally Haven for main color (gray) and some orange yarn I dyed for contrast color.  I dyed different shades of teal blue using acid dye for the shawl shown on the bottom.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Map Of The Woods

I finished a sweater just in time before semester begins tomorrow.
The idea started out as colorwork mittens with some leftover yarns, and halfway through the first mitten, I thought, wouldn't it be great to have these fun motifs on a cuff of a sweater?

So I put the mittens on hold and dug through my bins and bins of stash.  I was able to find some fingering weight yarn I could use for contrasting body and sleeves. Purple and grey, one color combination I really dig on clothes, even though they were different yarns.  The purple was Naturally Haven (1050 yards, 100% merino) that I bought from Elann. This was the 3rd project I'd used this purple yarn with.  The Grey was Classic Elite Fresco (450 yards,) the alpaca and angora in addition to the wool gave it a slight halo. All other colors were leftover yarns, and used about 3-10 yards each. The needles were US #3 needles so the stranded part wouldn't be too stiff.

The name "Map Of The Woods" actually came to me at the same time of doing a sweater. From that name, the idea of paw prints on the body popped up in my head.The pal prints and the mushrooms on the cuff were the 2 motifs I came up, while the other motifs, the flowers, the fox faces, and the trees were all adapted from different books.

I knitted the body in round from bottom up and splitted into front and back at the underarm.  The sleeves were knitted separately in round and sewn on to the body before blocking.  Can you believe it, I actually sew the sleeves!!  For neckline, I went with a little funnel neck.

I really liked this fun project, doing color work without testing my patience.

Map Of the Woods is sort of an homage to the hikes I've been doing, and my new jogging routine in the woods behind my house (yes, jogging, me! that's a shock to me too.)

On the note of woods, I'd like to mention 2 bear encounters in the past 2 weeks near my house.  First was when I was on a trail not far from my house, my usual walk route. I heard scrambling noise up the tree 10 feet away, and it was too loud for small animals. I saw a small baby bear, followed by a not very large mama bear. I made some loud noise and turned around.  The trail was no more than 10 minutes walk from my house.  Then few days ago there was a mama bear and her cubs outside our house. Our neighbor was yelling, and Paul went out to make noises too hoping to scare them away, and hoping they won't come back.  He said the mama bear was quite large and was already tagged.  I'm very, very saddened by these frequent visits of bears so close to residential area. If they ever get caught twice they will be put down, the one bear tagged means she was already caught once.

We live in an area where we're encroaching on the bears' territory. That is why the garbage MUST go into bear proof trash cans so bears don't rely on human garbage for their food source and cause "problems" for human.  BUT, there are many irresponsible people, and being a tourist town, many tourists that rent condos near our place have mountains of trash after 3 days visit that many wouldn't bother to try to fit everything into the bear proof trash bins.  I'd warned people many, many times when I witnessed them just leaving trash bags around. It really pissed me off.

Last year, a mama bear was killed when she broke into a house where the resident had tons and tons of trash in their garage. Their neighbors reported the house many times and apparently they refused to do anything. That was right before winter, and no way her 2 cubs that scrambled away could survive without her. Weeks ago this summer, a vacation home owner shot a bear that was minding her own business walking down the beach.  He decided that he didn't want to have bears around his vacation home!
Visitors to bear country area, please be considerate of your actions. And, please, no more developments when the town is 70% empty during low seasons, and all the new developments are for timeshare, vacation homes. Why taking away more land from wildlife when these houses are just gonna sit there empty most of the time?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Another Shawl

This was finished last week.

Before I sent the pattern (tentatively called Ripples) to testers, I felt I had to knit another one to make sure the numbers on the short rows came out fine.

The yarns were both The Plucky Knitter Primo and from different months of Plucky classic subscriptions.  I always knew I like the two colors together, and finally had a chance to use them.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


About 15 years ago when I was very new to knitting, I knitted my third sweater - Inishmore from Fishermen's Sweaters by Alice Starmore.  That was the time before I understood what gauge, reading sizes, and blocking  meant.

I knitted size medium thinking that was the size I always bought when cloth shopping.  I didn't even know what my measurements really were, so those numbers given in the pattern meant nothing to me. The good o' days when my sizes and my weight didn't mean anything to me.

Along with other beginner knitters' problems including never made swatch, I never even thought of measureing the knitted pieces in progress to check size.  Well, it came out way, way, way too big.  After knitting it, I still didn't measure it, and just put it away. Not long after that I moved away to DC then back to West Coast 4 years later. For 10 years I didn't knit a single stitch.  My Inishmore sat in a bag and in my parents' garage.

I brought it back home few years ago and vowed to redo it.

Yesterday I finally decided to get on it.  The yarn used was Brown Sheep Superwash.  It was very tough to unravel.  Even though the label reads 100% wool, I suspected there may be some mohair in it to make it very sticky.  First it was such chore to undo the seam when ends were already woven in and and cut.  Then after the pieces were taken apart, I wound them into cakes.  That took a long, long, time because of the super sticky yarn.  Total 4 hours it took me to do the above.  Fortunately the re-skein part went fast.  And I soaked the skeins in hot water, then hung them to dry by weighting down with cans in plastic bags.  I had total about 18 skeins so that made up to be ~1750 - 1800 yards of yarn.

(From left to right: Doc,Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, & Dopey.)

Now I just have to decide whether I'll reknit Inishmore with lots of modifications since its smallest size is still bigger than I want, or if I should use the yarn for something else.

One thing at least I can comfort myself with all the work was that after 15 years, thankfully I have not grown into the size of the sweater, it was still too big.

I also felt I was getting to know my old self when undoing the seams. I noticed my seaming skill had not changed much.  I realized I'd been more patient than I thought I was, and I wasn't that bad of a knitter if I don't count the basics of swatching and reading pattern size information as skill set. I was reading my old decisions during the process.  It was an interesting experience.  When so much of my self-image is a construct of my own mind, it almost felt a bit more like a historian sifting through artifacts to reconstruct the real story.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The-Nile Shawl

Finally I have some knitting to report.  I just finished a shawl using handspun yarn from Two If By Hand and some yarn I dyed myself.

After spinning the yarn I knew immediately I'd paired it with the blueish teal yarn I have. But it took me a while to get to the knitting.

Original plan was simple triangle with all St st in main color and the blue for lace edge.  During knitting the swatch I changed my mind.  I went for non-lacy and simple lines.

The wavy lines were improvised as I knitted.

I have to say, it is much prettier in person.  The camera highlights the contrast of tones in the handspun when it's more smooth to the eyes in real life.

I may do another one using non-handspun yarn.

While knitting, I kept on thinking the colors look like Egyptian Art. Hence the name.